Like everyone, I suppose, I have very happy memories of Christmas as it was when I was a child. There are things I miss. Let me list a few…
- Unpacking the Christmas tree lights, plugging them in, and finding by trial and error which one had gone lame since last Christmas – because if one bulb went, none would come on.
- Receiving dozens and dozens of Christmas cards, delivered twice a day by children hired in their school holidays to cope with the tidal wave of greetings.
- Hanging those cards over strings suspended between lintels and light fittings, not putting two with the same dominant colour side-by-side, mixing up the big and the small, the sacred and the profane.
- Opening up the big cardboard box (that one of my father’s tailored suits had come in) and choosing which of the familiar sheets of wrapping paper I would use for this year’s gifts to my family. Parcels were secured with string in those days, so wrapping paper could be recycled forever.
- Emancipating nuts with heavy steel nutcrackers. Hazel nuts were easy; walnuts needed precise application of pressure; brazil nuts needed brute strength, but only up to the moment of fracture or you’d be left with a handful of mash.
Merry Christmas to you and yours – and a reminder to make your nomination for next year’s Stroppy Git Award for Meaningless Twaddle (known in the popular press as “The Stroppy”). Closing date: 15 January (midday GMT).